Federal Stimulus Act-Newsletter1

Stimulus and Nonprofits – MNN’s first ARRA Newsletter- April 6, 2009

Welcome!

It is our hope that we can provide you with some basic guidance on the location of different pots of funding, and, in the coming weeks, provide you with more specific details and other relevant information.

Sincerely,

Dave Magnani,
Executive Director
617-330-1188

Overview

The ARRA and Nonprofits: Signed by President Obama on February 17, 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (The Economic Stimulus Package, commonly referred to as ARRA) has two principal goals. The first goal is to inject significant federal funding into our national economy to save or create jobs that reinvigorate our economy and to assist those most impacted by the recession.The second goal is to ensure that the bulk of the federal government’s spending is used to make major investments in transportation, environmental protection, technological advances in science and health and other infrastructureimprovements that will provide long-term economic benefit to the country.  Governor Patrick, in outlining the goals of the Commonwealth for its share of the responsibility for the use of these funds, has described it as “delivering relief now while investing in tomorrow.”

While public perception of the ARRA might focus on building roads and bridges and private sector investments, in reality, the vast majority of the ARRA funding is ideally suited to the enormously broad nonprofit sector for the delivery of services. It is our goal to monitor and analyze this funding and determine how nonprofits here in Massachusetts can best access funding. This first newsletter is designed to provide the Massachusetts nonprofit sector with information known to date on a broad spectrum of funding opportunities. In subsequent newsletters we will keep you abreast of prospective funding streams for nonprofit organizations here in Massachusetts, including relevant dates and deadlines as they become available.

As you know by know, it is estimated that over the course of two years, Massachusetts will receive approximately $8.7 billion in federal stimulus funds, plus an additional $5.2 billion through tax benefits to residents of the Commonwealth. Despite the perception that the federal government wrote each governor a large check for each of them to distribute to their state as they saw fit, the reality is that ARRA funding is targeted for various specific purposes. The bulk of the funding is being distributed by relevant federal agencies, primarily through existing programs/mechanisms. The amounts of funding depend on various funding distribution methods, including formula-based allocations and competitive grant processes. The recipients of the funds include the Commonwealth, municipalities, and private entities, depending on the program. Even those grants that the federal government is mandated to award to a state still require states (or state agencies) to submit an acceptable state plan or application that meets the eligibility and compliance requirements of the grant program. It is only upon completion and acceptance of that plan that states will be award funding for them to distribute.

While much is known about funding opportunities, much is still undecided, specifically with regards to the funding that will be allocated through state agencies (Massachusetts agencies are still in the process of applying for grants from the federal government). On the other hand, deadlines for RFAs from the federal government are quickly approaching. If you plan to apply for these grants, be sure to read over the guidelines very closely and ensure that your application addresses how your organization can meet the specific needs of the grant as the goals in these grants are very specific. Some provisions of ARRA limit eligible applicants to those that were funded in 2008 for the same program. On the other hand, there are some grant opportunities that are not available to current grantees and consequently only open to new applicants.The ARRA is emergency legislation and the Obama Administration wants action quickly after funding decisions are made. The published RFAs will state how quickly a successful applicant must have the program up and running. Look for that deadline in the RFA.

We would also suggest that you take a number of steps right now to better position your organization to receive funding, including:

  • Carefully reading over various grant opportunities that are presently available that might speak to your organization’s core strengths.
  • Reaching out to other organizations to collaborate on proposals.
  • Looking into the possibility of serving as a subcontractor of services to a principal applicant. In fact, there are several programs that require for-profit companies to include a nonprofit organization in the application and the work plan.
  • Reaching out to officials at the municipal level who will be administering various pools of funds. Seeking out allies in the form of elected officials at the state and federal level who can advocate for your organization or constituency.

In outlining the present funding opportunities, we have divided the fields into various categories depending on the core function of the funding. Under each category we further subdivide the access points into:
1)      Municipalities/localities
2)      State Agencies
3)      Federal Funding that is directly given to programs
4)      Federal Funding that is administered through grants

Health and Human Services

Municipalities/localities

MA is receiving approximately $44.8 million for homelessness prevention. Of this, 75% will be distributed to cities and towns that receive Emergency Shelter Grant Program funds.  This funding will be used to help homeless individuals and families get housing, or prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless. If you are interested in receiving this funding, contact your local government to find out if they are applying for this block grant, and if so, how your organization can play a role. A significant portion of this funding is to be used only for homelessness prevention activities (not shelters) such as rental assistance, housing stabilization, and housing relocation services, including security or utility deposits.

MA is receiving approximately $24.8 million for community service block grants(CSBG) which aim to reduce poverty. These funds are distributed at the local level, but states must apply to receive them. There does not appear to be any specific information yet on these funds, but for more information contact one of the 24 existing duly designated community action centers the CSBG provides core funding. Each CAA is a private non-profit entity operated by a tripartite board representing private and public sectors and low-income people who reside or work in the designated service area.

State Agencies

On March 25th, Governor Patrick announced that Massachusetts would be receiving $764 million in federal recovery funds for health care and safety net services. A significant portion of this funding will be going directly to the state’s Medicaid program, increasing the federal matching dollars from 50% to between 56.2 and 61.6%, depending on spending patterns and unemployment levels in the state.  This increased funding will allow the state to fund the proposals that the Governor outlined in his FY10 budget proposal, including $10 million for community health centers and $5 million for health care providers. In essence, the impact of this funding source is that it will allow the state to maintain critical existing services that rely on the Medicaid match. Once RFPs are announced for these funds, we will inform you. In addition, depending on how much of this funding is over the Governor’s and Legislature’s proposed FY10 budgets, there could be even more Medicaid money available (up to an additional $3.1 billion over two years).  The Governor’s office should soon be announcing how they expect to spend the funds that are on top of those already included in his H1 budget proposal. One option could to be to improve provider rates.

Direct Federal Grants

ARRA appropriates $25 billion over two years to our nation’s community health centers ($500 million in direct grants, $1.5 billion for capital projects and health information technology and $500 million for primary care workforce development). On March 27th, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the release of $338 million to expand services offered by community health centers.  The grants — titled Increased Demand for Services (IDS) grants – are being distributed to 1,128 federally qualified health center grantees, including 36 in Massachusetts who received approximately $8.6 million in funding to be used over the next two years to create or retain 245 health center jobs in MA. The IDS awards are the second set of health center grants provided through the Recovery Act.

Competitive Grants

The first set of health center grants was initiated on March 2nd when President Obama announced grants worth $155 million in funding for the construction and expansion of community health centers, including $1.3 million that was awarded to the North Shore Community Health Center. North Shore, the only community center in MA to receive funding in the first round, was successful, in part, by highlighting the high level of need in the Gloucester area. Additionally, North Shore was already on a list of “approved but unfunded” health-center projects, having applied in 2007. It is believed Administration officials used that list as the basis for awarding this first round of funding.

ARRA appropriates $11.1 billion over 2 years to support health research and capital improvements to research facilities. The bulk of this funding will go to support research applications that have already been reviewed, and those submitted in fiscal 2008 and 2009 that have been judged for merit but did not receive awards because of fiscal constraints. Some of the money will go to projects that speed up research in high-priority areas that are already being conducted under existing grants. These awards will be based on themes, such as equipment, training, and summer student jobs. An estimate of between $100 million and $200 million will start a new program called NIH Challenge Grants. This program will solicit applications in focus areas determined by the institutes, and the awards will be based on peer review and support specific scientific and health research challenges in biomedical and behavioral research. The deadline to apply for these funds is April 27, 2009. There are a number of different health research grants available, including those specifically focused on autism.

Children and Families

State Agencies

Massachusetts is expected to receive approximately $23.9 through the child care development block grant (CCDBG). These funds are not permitted to be used in replacement of state funding, but to supplement it. It is not yet clear how this funding will be disbursed, but RFPs should be announced soon by the Dept. of Early Education and Care.

Direct Federal Funding

$1 billion has been allocated for regular Head Start programs.   These funds must be spent on programs that receive federal money to provide early education to low income children through this program.

Competitive Grants
$1.1 billion for Early Head Start will be distributed through a competitive application process. This funding is available for organizations that want to start a new Early Head Start Program. For more information.

Grant for youth mentoring. The application deadline is April 20. For more information.

Competitive grants for transitional housing assistance for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault. Grants are up to $500,000 and the current deadline is April 8, 2009. For more information.

YouthBuild grants are provided to non-profit organizations to assist high-risk youth between the ages of 16-24 to learn housing construction job skills and to complete their high school education. The federal economic stimulus package increased these grants by $50 million. For more information.

Elder Services

State Agencies

On March 21st, Governor Patrick announced more that over $300 million was coming to Massachusetts to help boost Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and to increase nutritional services for elders. Some of this funding will go directly to elders through the federal Food Stamp program. However, between $1.2 million and $1.4 million will go to senior centers with nutrition programs.  Twenty-seven senior centers have already been identified. No information is yet available on whether organizations can still apply for these funds. We will notify you as soon as we know.

Competitive Grants

Competitive grants for the “Community Service Employment for Older Americans program.” This is only open to current grantees in proportion to their allotment in 2008.

Labor and Workforce Development

State Agencies

It is expected that the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development will make an announcement in the coming weeks regarding the approximately $64 million in new funding that is coming to Massachusetts for youth activities, dislocated worker employment and training, and adult employment and training. This funding will be distributed to the 16 Workforce Investment Boards. If your organization is interested in providing these services, contact your local board. RFPs for Boston will be announced at the end of April. The money needs to be obligated by June 30th.
Competitive Grants

ARRA contains $750 million for competitive grants to train workers for high need fields (priority given to “green” jobs and health care).  For more information, please visit The United States Department of Labor.  No specific information is currently available for a deadline, but it should be shortly.

Nonprofits can directly apply for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program, which is meant tofund job retention and creation to reduce crime. Prevention, education, and community programs are applicable. Applications are due April 27, 2009.

Clean Energy and Environment

Municipalities/Localities

Cities and towns can apply for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants to help reduce total energy consumption. In order for a nonprofit to receive these funds, they need to speak with their local government to find out if they are applying for a block grant, and how the nonprofit could assist in providing services (i.e. propose ways to increase use of renewable sources of energy) in the community if the local government receives the grant.
Competitive Grants

Competitive grant program for energy efficiency and conservation. The deadline for this grant is June 25, 2009. For more information, please visit the grants.gov RFP .

Competitive grant open to nonprofits that provide environmental job training projects that will promote job creation and economic development by facilitating the assessment, remediation, or preparation of Brownfields sites. Application deadline is April 20, 2009.  For more information, please visit the EPA Information Related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Education

State Agencies

MA is receiving $994 million through the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (designed principally to stave off cuts in education). Of this, MA will use approximately $813 million on supporting K-12 and higher education during state fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011.  The funds must first be used to restore state funding for K-12 and higher education up to the FY08 or FY09 level, whichever is higher, and to maintain that level through FY11.  They can also be used to allow the phase-in of previously enacted equity and adequacy adjustments.  Any funds remaining, once the accounts have been made whole, are to be directed into Title I (Elementary and Secondary Education) formula grants.

MA will also receive about $181 million as a “flexible block grant” to be spent on education, public safety and provide for public safety and other government services, which may include elementary, secondary, as well as higher education.  The funds may also be used for modernization, renovation, or repair activities, consistent with state law, of elementary, secondary, and higher education (public and private) buildings and facilities.

It is unclear how Massachusetts nonprofits might access this increased education funding, but we are looking into this closer and will provide more information once it is available.

Higher Education

State Agencies

The amount potentially available to higher education is still extremely uncertain and is contingent upon the interpretation of various variables. An estimate for the total MA will receive for FY09, FY10, and FY11 is approximately $196 million, based on proportional basis. According to the Department of Higher Education, if the Governor determines that the education block grants are an insufficient amount to support, in each of the fiscal year 2009, 2010 and 2011, public elementary, secondary and higher education as the levels described… “The governor shall allocate those funds between those sectors in proportion to the relative shortfall in State support for the education sectors…” Using this formula, the Dept. of Higher Education projected $196 million. Funding received under this program “shall be used for education and general expenditures designed to mitigate the need to raise tuition for in-state students or for the modernization, renovation, or repair of facilities that are primarily used for instruction, research, or student housing, including modernization, renovation, and repairs that are consistent with a recognized green building rating system.  These funds may not be used to increase an endowment; maintain systems, equipment, or facilities; or for facilities primarily used for athletic events, exhibitions, or religious activities.”

Competitive Grants

Community colleges can tap into a number of resources for funding in the economic stimulus package that we listed in previous sections of this newsletter.

  • Research grants under “Health and Human Services” subheading
  • Energy efficiency and conservation block grants under the “Clean Energy and Environment” subheading
  • Workforce training grants under the “Labor and Workforce Development’ subheading

Additional Grants available:

  • Higher Education Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants Program (HEA-Title II, Part A)
  • Broadband Technology Opportunities Program-Expands public computer center capacity, including those at community colleges and public libraries. This fund expires September 30, 2010.
  • Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service-Buildings and Facilities
  • Department of Agriculture:  Rural Distance Learning, Telemedicine and Broadband Program for the cost of broadband loans, loan guarantees, and grants
  • Community College and Career Training Grant Program

Housing and Community Development

Municipalities/Localities

Over $1 billion of the federal economic stimulus bill was appropriated for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), of which MA is expected to receive approximately $29.4 million. Most of the funding goes directly to cities that have received CDBG funds in the past, although some funding is available for communities that do not directly receive CDBG funds. These funds are used at the local level for projects that provide housing and economic opportunities for low and moderate-income families. In order for a nonprofit to receive these funds, they need to speak with their local government to find out if they are applying for a CDBG grant, and how the nonprofit could assist in providing services (i.e. workforce training) in the community if the local government receives the grant. For more information, contact one of the 36 community sites in MA.

ARRA allocates $1.5 billion to the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. These funds will be allocated in the form of grants to states and local government to implement local housing strategies designed to increase homeownership and affordable housing opportunities for low- and very low-income Americans.  It is expected that state or local government work in partnership with non-profit organizations.  Nonprofits should reach out to their local government to determine if they have applied for this grant and offer to work with them.

State Agencies

The state will also most likely be receiving a HOME grant. We will share information with you on RFPs through the state once it is available.


Competitive Grants

There is a competitive grant that is open to nonprofits to buy and rehabilitate foreclosed properties and other projects to stabilize neighborhoods and create affordable housing.  The deadline for this grant is September 1, 2009. For more information, please visit the Neighborhood Stabilization Program RFP.

Competitive grants for transitional housing assistance for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault. Grants are up to $500,000 and the current deadline is April 8, 2009. For more information, please visit the United States Department of Justice Recovery Information.

Arts

State Agencies

The National Endowment for the Arts will be distributing 40% of the $50 million that was allocated to the designated 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies and their six authorized regional arts organizations. The application deadline for state arts agencies and regional arts organizations was March 13, 2009. Nonprofits should reach out to these agencies and organizations to find out if they did apply, and how their organization could be involved. To contact the MA agency visit theMassachusetts Cultural Council.

Competitive Grants

60% of the $50 million will be available through competitive grants. These direct grants will be available to nonprofit arts organizations including local arts agencies, statewide assemblies of local arts agencies, arts service organizations, and other arts organizations. Applicants must have received NEA funding in the last four years to be eligible to apply. The application deadline for nonprofit arts organizations was April 2, 2009.  It is unclear as to if there will be a second round of grants.

Running Your Nonprofit – Staff, Office Equipment, Etc.

Competitive Grants

Funding for nonprofits to hire students in the summer as part of the YouthWorks program.  MA plans to create an estimated 10,000 summer jobs. If you are interested in hiring a teen visit the EPA website

The Small Business Administration (SBA) makes funds available to nonprofit community based lenders (intermediaries) which, in turn, make loans to eligible borrowers in amounts up to a maximum of $35,000. The average loan size is about $13,000. Applications are submitted to the local intermediary and all credit decisions are made on the local level. Visit the Office of Labor and Workforce Development for more information.

AmeriCorps grants are awarded to eligible organizations to recruit, train, and manage AmeriCorps members who address community needs. An AmeriCorps member is an individual who is enrolled in an approved national service position and engages in community service. Members may receive a living allowance while serving. This funding is only available to organizations that currently have AmeriCorps volunteers. For more information, please visit the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Competitive grants to provide broadband access to consumers in under served areas and trainings to schools, libraries, medical and health care providers, community colleges, and community support organizations to facilitate greater use of broadband by these organizations for low-income, unemployed, aged, or other vulnerable populations. This fund expires September 30, 2010. For more information, please visit the US Dept of Energy Recovery Website .
Below are some helpful websites:

Medicare & Healthcare

Nutrition

Housing, Infrastructure, Economic Development

Unemployment Services

Environment, Energy, Education & Other:

© 2009 Massachusetts Nonprofit Network
Online versions of our newsletters are released for internet archive a week following email distribution. If you would like to become part of our mailing list, please send your name and email address to Heather Hartshorn, Director of Programs.